Well, I guess if you want to write songs, you can write songs. But if you want people to hear them, and you want to get paid for it, and want to get credit for it . . .
Yeah, that's really — that's a question that, umm, I think about all the time, because I spend the vast majority of my time not working on music, I spend it behind the Mac [holding her laptop]. We have a much closer relationship than I have with my piano. It can also be very tempting to e-mail instead of write music, because e-mail is very instantly gratifying, and there's a lot of wonderful feedback and connection and blogging can also give you that wonderful jolt of connection with people, and I think, "Wow, I remember when I used to be a songwriter." Now, I seek connections between things in the world and I take those images and put them into my blog. I don't put them into songs — "Songs take so long, no one's going to hear this shit for ten months, if I do this blog thing now, someone will write back to me on their reflection of it in ten minutes." And that's very dangerous, because it can strip you of the private internal intimate relationship you might have with your music-making. And that's something I have yet to figure out, how to balance these two machines.
Yeah, but that's kind of the sophomore thing, right? Once you've done The Thing, and you have to do The Next Thing —
Yeah, but there's this wonderful thing I've noticed happening, which is that there is a hump that you do get over where you can kind of let things run by themselves, and also —
Songwriting-wise or business-wise?
Business-wise. Which allows you to step back and breathe a little bit and read books and maybe write more music that you would because you start trusting — not only that things will sort of happen because you set up a team, but you also care a little less. Because when you make your first record, it has to be perfect. And when you make your second record, that pretty much has to be perfect too. But by the time you're on your third record, you just don't care as much.
Because you know there'll be another one?
Because you'll have another one, but also because you've proven yourself to the world and to your fans and you can let up a little bit and experiment a little bit more. This is not to say that I was not a complete anal perfectionist with this record, but I was willing to stretch a little bit more and say, "You know, I'm not sure about this, Ben, but sure, let's do it."
Do you think that you were in a different musical head space when you did this solo album?
Oh yeah, totally. First of all, it was a different collection of songs, and it was all about finding a new voice, literally. I was having vocal problems. I think one thing I noticed was that I didn't feel the need to be as loud.